…has returned and in good fashion.  I recently had a bit of hands on time with it, and I have to say it’s very impressive.  Double Helix, if you don’t know these guys you’d better get on the ball, has delivered wonderful entries to Capcom’s old school titles, i.e. Bionic Commando Re-Armed, Re-Armed 2, and the highly under appreciated Bionic Commando.  Their entry to Strider is nothing short of amazing.  Now that’s not to say that there aren’t a few problems, but it’s not enough for this game to be missed.

The first thing I want to point out right now is something I’ve heard other reviews speak on, and I want to touch on it as well, and that’s the speed of the game.  This game is fast, and at times very unforgiving due to the speed factor.  Strider himself moves just like his Marvel v. Capcom counter part and has a majority of the move sets to go along with that.  This both serves as saving grace and a detriment, as you’ll be fighting and moving so fast you’ll suddenly die because you lost track of your health at one point or another.  I personally found this both awesome and frustrating, and I am still a little torn on whether or not I should call this a fault in the game rules, or something I should genuinely be worried about.  I believe this is due, in part, to the fact that everything you kill, gives you health.  This seems to be a factor that the developers wanted to have balance itself out as you play.  Strider himself, moves so fluidly and without hindrance that half the time I feel like I was supposed to jump, and before I press a button, he’s already over a gap or box.  I will atest that, having played the previous games, this threw me off but was completely welcome when I got into it, and made me feel like I a ninja after a long time.

The second thing I want to put up and I’m not sure if this was ever mentioned, but this game is a Metroidvania style game, and feels like it was meant to be speed ran.  I personally love the way this plays out.  I can move from place to place and go back when I need to, or feel like exploring.  This is a most welcome change to the previous ways the games were played.  Strider makes me feel like this game world is worth going back and finding things I missed and even with that makes me want to actually do that.  The game world seems sooo big and full of things to explore, and do.  I would like to see older games like this, and I feel that Bionic Commando Re-Armed, and Re-Armed 2 NEEDED to be played in this format, ESPECIALLY if you were required to back track through levels, and the helicopter could’ve been just used as fast travel, but that’s neither here nor there.

Strider in my opinion, is a very good piece of work.  I do feel bad that they keep following the same tradition that the older games seemed to follow.  Infiltrate Russian country fight bad guy kind of thing, which brings me to the third thing, the story… It’s a rehash… Strider deserves way better than a rehash of the first game.  In fact, at this point I would thing that Capcom and Double  Helix could’ve come up with a way to move the story forward, by say merging the world of Strider, Commando, and Bionic Commando together, and creating a universe, where they were all crossed paths.  It’s great for references, and allows for some interesting cameos.  There’s no reason that Capcom can’t create original ideas for Strider games, and ever more Double Helix can do more than rehash the same story for now 3 games.  The biggest issue isn’t that there’s little to no story, it’s just that the story itself makes this game feel like I’ve already played it, and the game just has a new coat of paint on it.  If Strider himself has little story beyond fighting the Grandmaster’s forces, then this would be a good chance to think outside the box and find a way to progress.  For example at the end of BC there’s Nathan Spencer falls seemingly to his death, but a new threat gets activated.  This threat could be something that Strider is tasked with investigating and eventually dealing with, and if you have to have him fight the Grandmaster, that could be the villain, and launch from there.  It’s something other than rehashing.

Visually this game is stunning and I would like to see what it looks like on the PS4, but finances only allow me to play on my PS3…one day… ONE DAYYYY!!  I can’t get enough of how well this game world is presented.  I felt a sense of unease as I passed through this world and seeing it’s inhabitants react as I tore through their homes decimating robots as I did so.  I will say that if this game gets a sequel, which it deserves a shot at, it will need to choose another location and a new enemy, to allow me to burn through, but this world as it is, is fantastic for a start.

As a whole this game will not appeal to everyone, as it is an old school game with a new coat of paint, and nothing new to just latch on to, but there’s enough here to satify older gamers who’ve been looking for a new Strider game for almost 10 years.  YEAH, 10 YEARS since Strider 2 came out.  Even those gamers will be a little burned to find that this a more of a rehash than something new, but at this point, it’s not a bad thing.  Playing it safe is good, and allows trust.  Let’s hope that the next one will be an advancement in Strider’s story, and not a rehash.